Our first full day in Edinburgh was mostly involved in touring Edinburgh Castle (which was quite enjoyable), and then exploring the Royal Mile. The Mile is more than a little touristy (indeed, having multiple street artists performing levitation and mime displays is pretty much the definition of “touristy”). It also has more than a few food options, including an implausibly large number of baked potato restaurants. But as we got towards the eastern end of the mile, the touristy places started getting replaced with some reasonably good pubs and restaurants, and one place jumped out at us: Oink.
After returning to London (via an unanticipated extra night’s layover in Madrid, courtesy of Iberia Airlines), my brother and his wife decidd to celebrate our return to the UK by taking took us out to Roast. Nestled nicely above Borough Market in what used to be the portico of the Flower Market, it’s a really pleasant and open dining space, and a restaurant known for high quality roasted meats, including game meats (“warning, may contain shot”). Their motto is “Deliciously British,” and they pursue this with classical British cooking (think roasts, games, and classic British desserts) using the seasonal produce and locally-procured meats.
One of the greatly unfortunate fact of life is that English cuisine still wrongly suffers from a relatively poor international reputation. I can’t count the number of friends and coworkers that, upon hearing that I was going to be spending two weeks in England, their response was, “I’m so sorry, I hear the food is terrible.” It’s terribly unfortunate, since nothing could be further from the truth. While there definitely was some justification for the stereotype of bad English food back in the 60s and 70s, the cuisine of England has definitely improved, and, especially in London, includes several of the best restaurants in the world. One of these is St John restaurant. The chef at St John, Fergus Henderson, focuses on doing classic British cooking done to high standards of perfection, with typical fare including such items as roast suckling pig, aged Scottish rib roasts, Grouse, and other high quality meats served with an excellent assortment of sides.